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Daniel. Yes or no?

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manhattank Mar 14, 2014 08:22 AM

My husband and I live in NYC, but are having one night away from the kids, staying at the St. Regis on 55th & 5th. I have a reservation at Daniel for this Saturday night, but am concerned about reports of inferior service to non-regulars / snooty wait staff. Should we still go, or is there somewhere else that we will be able to get into that will be a special experience? Many thanks!

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  1. Heeney RE: manhattank Mar 14, 2014 08:44 AM

    For this Saturday? Anywhere that would be comperable or better is likely booked.
    My experience at Daniel is that is is somewhat the "old money" restaurant. I didn't find it too stuffy or rude though.
    That being said, the food was very good and it's certainly a luxury feeling to eat there.
    I say go and have a great time.
    Also, if you cancel now won't there be a penalty on your credit card?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Heeney
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      manhattank RE: Heeney Mar 14, 2014 08:49 AM

      Bizarrely, I was able to make the reservation yesterday - for 9pm this Saturday. OpenTable took my cc number, but didn't mention anything about a penalty if I canceled.

      1. re: manhattank
        Heeney RE: manhattank Mar 14, 2014 09:00 AM

        Hmm. Probably because you caught someone else's cancellation in 48 hours.
        For the whole package of good food and a luxurious night out that's your best bet IMO.
        Have a good time.

    2. Heeney RE: manhattank Mar 14, 2014 08:47 AM

      One other compliment I'll pay Daniel. It has two totally different tasting menus and you can order each one for your two top.
      That's what we did so it was a larger and better variety (assuming you were thinking of doing a tasting).

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        Pookipichu RE: manhattank Mar 14, 2014 09:22 AM

        I really soured on Daniel. One extremely bad experience is all it takes when you are paying so much money. I would definitely not recommend Daniel, but if you do go I hope you do not get treated as obnoxiously, negligently and haughtily as I did.

        I would sooner go to Le Bernadin at 5:45 or Jungsik at 9:30.

        My impression of Daniel is that some people will get very good service, most people will get good service, but they don't really care if you get crappy service because they are impervious to criticism.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Pookipichu
          ellenost RE: Pookipichu Mar 14, 2014 09:31 AM

          I'm one of the people who got the crappy service. Never went back.

          1. re: Pookipichu
            Heeney RE: Pookipichu Mar 14, 2014 09:35 AM

            Hmm. I'd go with LB too. If you are up for eating that early.
            Can't comment on Jungsik first hand. But I think that is probably more food focused and less on the luxury night out aspect. I heard the dining room is kind of dull.

            1. re: Heeney
              ellenost RE: Heeney Mar 14, 2014 09:38 AM

              I've been to Jungsik twice. While the food is wonderful (delicious and creative), the service is outstanding, and the room is beautiful. Definitely a luxury experience.

            2. re: Pookipichu
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              deepfry7 RE: Pookipichu Mar 14, 2014 09:50 AM

              One would hope that after the downgrade by Pete Wells, they'd get their act together.

              I had a pleasant experience at Daniel the one time I went (many years ago), but CH is full of threads listing their bad experiences. Might be just the repeated comments by the few (not saying that's bad), but you don't really hear this from EMP, Per Se, Le Bern, and Jean Georges

              1. re: deepfry7
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                Pookipichu RE: deepfry7 Mar 14, 2014 10:35 AM

                I've been to all of the above, and I have never had anything but professional to exceptional service. Daniel was by far the most shockingly grotesque service I've ever received at a "Four Star" restaurant. A little snoot, I can endure, coldness I can endure, but they crossed a line and didn't care.

                I think you are right, that's it's very telling, out of the highly acclaimed restaurants in NYC, that ONLY Daniel has had reports of egregiously bad service, not to mention a write up about their bifurcated service in the NY Times. It's unheard of. I would not patronize them ever again. Not to mention bad experiences at Cafe Boulud and Bar Bouloud relating to mediocre food. I was in love with all things Boulud back when Daniel and Cafe Boloud were jewels of hospitality and perfectly executed food. No longer. Their ethos has changed.

            3. kosmose7 RE: manhattank Mar 14, 2014 10:42 AM

              Daniel is one of three most favorite restaurants in New York for me. Food is great and service is professional. And I love the fact that I can order a la carte, which changes regularly so that I can always enjoy new dishes. Two thumbs up!

              1 Reply
              1. re: kosmose7
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                H Manning RE: kosmose7 May 9, 2014 02:07 PM

                Daniel is my favorite restaurant as well, along with Le Bernardin.

              2. d
                danlind3 RE: manhattank May 9, 2014 05:39 AM

                I just went to Daniel and it was great. The waiter was friendly and fun yet could give me a run down on each ingredient and preparation. I think there was some mutual respect. Had the second tasting menu, and paid a la carte for the white asparagus special. Was there for about 6 hours. (does that not say it all??). The char with the Copain (pinot noir) wine pairing was the highlight. But the whole thing was superlative. I've seen the reports of being rude, so it is likely true for some people. But I've now been 4 times over many years, and it is always excellent and this last time was the best by far!

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                  bronwen RE: manhattank May 9, 2014 11:29 AM

                  Go, you have the reservation and it is one of the best in New York. Trust me!

                  1. s
                    sophie_TO RE: manhattank May 13, 2014 05:40 PM

                    I am going to Daniel alone later this week and the lady who took my reservation (Susan is her name), was so nice and friendly and even put a note in the reservation system that I am off to Lincoln Centre for a concert at 8. She even got me a seat at 5:30 pm in the lounge, it was very hard since I called 3 days before. I'll report back on how I found the service. Honestly, I went to Babbo last year and sat at the bar and found the barman to be snotty and cold. I also went to Nobu and the staff was super friendly and down the earth and chatty. So I think it really depends on who you get.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: sophie_TO
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                      Pookipichu RE: sophie_TO May 13, 2014 07:14 PM

                      You can get bad service anywhere, but there are also places you are more likely to get bad service than good.

                      There's been enough talk about Daniel for me to believe the service issues are real, not to mention my own horrible experience there.

                      Until I hear consistent reports from non VIPs that Daniel's service has improved, there are too many other great restaurants in NYC that would be happy to have customers and where I don't feel like I'm playing russian roulette with my night.

                      1. re: sophie_TO
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                        danlind3 RE: sophie_TO May 13, 2014 09:19 PM

                        I went recently (post below) and had a great time. One of the first questions was were we going to see a show. No. They are attentive to that, and food allergies. Easy to substitute on the tasting menu. We arrived at about 5:20 (5:30 was the best time we could get - rush trip). Left after 11, with better service than one could imagine. Had the Mayfair menu, and added the a la carte asparagus. There could be lemons, but the server was casual yet expert, super attentive and could explain any ingredient or preparation - as it should be.

                        1. re: danlind3
                          kosmose7 RE: danlind3 May 13, 2014 10:15 PM

                          Yeah I have been going to Daniel almost every month and the service has always been great. It's not like Daniel was nice to me in the first place because I was a VIP or anything many years ago. I was a first timer then and I was nobody to them. I became a regular because their service has been great since day 1. Some people may have experienced bad service at Daniel, but I haven't. I experienced really bad service twice at Per Se and together with their desserts that have become really dull, I stopped going back. So I guess it really depends on your luck.

                          1. re: kosmose7
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                            Pan RE: kosmose7 May 13, 2014 10:26 PM

                            I've never been to Daniel, but by the same token, unless someone else invites me and pays, I don't think I will ever go, because at that price point, I'd like the quality of my service to be more than purely a function of luck.

                            1. re: Pan
                              kosmose7 RE: Pan May 13, 2014 11:11 PM

                              Of course. It's your buck and your decision. I've been to all the four star facilities in NY multiple times and for me, the only places I have never had any service issue with are EMP and Jean Georges, plus now three starred Daniel.

                              1. re: kosmose7
                                strangemd RE: kosmose7 May 14, 2014 07:48 AM

                                I'm with kosmose7 on this one. I go to Daniel 3 or 4 times a year, which certainly doesn't make me a VIP, and I have always been treated graciously. Plus, I think it's one of the best meals, from start to finish, in NYC.

                                1. re: strangemd
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                                  Pan RE: strangemd May 15, 2014 12:08 AM

                                  3-4x a year could make you a regular in their eyes.

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                        JeremyEG RE: manhattank May 14, 2014 08:01 AM

                        I think if you have the res, go and have a good time. I've been a couple times and I fully agree that there is better/less stuffy service to be found but there is also some benefit in enjoying your nice night out and not worrying too much. I do remember a really beautiful cocktail with little Indian candies floated on the top. Have fun!
                        JeremyEG
                        HomeCookLocavore.com

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                          ElizabethReed RE: manhattank May 14, 2014 07:29 PM

                          Never again. Pompous, insufferable jackass server.

                          1. Spiritchaser RE: manhattank May 15, 2014 05:28 AM

                            So this is coming from someone (me) whom I doubt would be considered a regular at Daniel, not are we famous or in "the industry"; been maybe 6/7 times over a few years with a couple wine events along the way and we (GF and I) have never had less than excellent service. I still remember the very first time we dined there and were treated like royalty. We are always sure to immediately engage our servers and Captain so maybe that has put them "at ease" around us but we've never gotten attitude from anyone, actually always thought they tread a nice line between formal and friendly. This by no means doubts anyone's negative experiences at Daniel I just wanted to throw our experiences into the mix.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Spiritchaser
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                              Pookipichu RE: Spiritchaser May 15, 2014 07:23 AM

                              Just as a counterpoint, I had been going to Daniel, pre-move and have eaten with Daniel Boulud, tour of the old kitchen, he was gracious, funny, charming, warm. So it was with absolute excitement and enthusiasm that I celebrated a special occasion at Daniel shortly after they moved to their current location.

                              We're not rude, unfriendly people, we were happy, and easy to please, easy going. The service from start to finish was horrible, hands down worst service I have ever experienced in a fine dining establishment. Even though the restaurant was empty except for one other couple seated down in the main area, we were seated in the hinterlands next to the kitchen. They could not figure out how to bring me water without ice. They brought me several cups of water with ice, each time with me requesting "please, no ice, thank you", I had to get up, grab a busy boy and he apologized and said he thought they were bringing me water with no ice. Seriously, 4 star service? That was the least of the issues, the haughtiness, rudeness of the server/captain(?) was shocking and humiliating. Never again.

                            2. kokoro RE: manhattank May 16, 2014 11:18 AM

                              My friend and I went to Daniel in January. As some background we are two, mid-20s females who would pretty much be nobodies in a place such as Daniel. We were given nothing short of excellent service, even in the light of a misstep from the kitchen. My friend's hamachi was overcooked and though hesitant to point it out to staff, it was quickly addressed and new plates were brought out within minutes. Perhaps as a way of apology, but we were asked after our meal if we'd like a tour of the kitchen, and the staff were nothing short of gracious, even in light of the faux pas.

                              Of course, this is just one experience out of many, but in my experience, regardless of who you are, you will be treated well at Daniel.

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